This is a great first in the history of Africa. Gabonese President Ali Bongo Odimba has created a surprise by propelling a Gabonese naturalized Briton, Lee White, renowned for being an uncompromising ecologist, at the head of the Gabonese Ministry of Forests, a daring and unprecedented nomination in Africa.
President Ali Bongo has appointed a British head of the Ministry of Forests. Professor Lee White, born in Great Britain, responsible for the National Agency of National Parks of Gabon (ANPN) is the new Minister of Forests.
The Minister of Forests naturalized Gabon in 2008. Sir Lee White, 53, was born in Manchester. He grew up in Uganda, where “he was fighting at school with sons (of president) Idi Amin Dada,” according to his official biography.
Holder of a doctorate in zoology after a thesis on the Lopé-Okanda fauna reserve in Gabon, he is decorated in 2010 by Queen Elizabeth II for services to the protection of nature in Central Africa, according to the same source.
No sooner had he arrived at the head of the Ministry of Forestry, the British face difficulties that could cost him his job.
A decree that is already creating waves
“Today there are huge management problems at the ANPN, which represents only 10% of the territory. From now on, Lee White will have to manage all the forests “in Gabon, declares Marc Ona, president of the association Brainforest and member of the opposition.
“Lee White has excessive ambitions, but if he did not succeed at the ANPN why would it happen across the territory? It is not a problem of man at the head of this ministry, but the whole system around the logging which is corrupted “, underlines this expert Gabonese.
The appointment of Lee White comes after the scandal “kevazingogate” that shook the political class and led to the dismissal of the Minister of Forests Guy Bertrand Mapangou and Vice President of Gabon, Pierre Claver Maganga Moussavou, May 21.